We’re continuing in our study of Luke’s Gospel. Right now we’re looking at the Sermon on the Mount. In this section, Christ is talking about loving others, especially our enemies.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.”
This kind of love is all about choices. Most people are very willing to do good things for those who are good to them. But that doesn’t show a difference in us.
There’s more to this question that Jesus asks than is readily apparent. The word, credit, is actually the Greek word for grace.
You don’t need any special anointing of grace to love those who show love to you. If you want to walk in God’s power, then do good to those who hate you.
“And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.”
In the world there’s a saying, “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.” In other words – if you do something nice for me, I’ll do the same for you.
Christ turns this thought on it’s head. He literally says that if you only do favors for people who do favors for you, then what grace do you have. Sinners, with no grace, can do the same thing.
The question is; do you want to show the power of God working through you? That will only happen if you do what other can’t do, or refuse to do.
“And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”
Now Jesus starts meddling! It’s one thing to be nice to someone, it’s totally different when it comes to giving away our resources.
Jesus goes as far as to say that if an enemy needs something we have, then we should lend it to them. That’s hard to do, because there’s a good possibility that they won’t return it. As a matter of fact, the Lord tells us not to expect them to return it.
That’s a hard road to walk. Again, it requires the grace of God to be active in you. More than that, God is transforming us into His likeness. He wants the character of Christ to be manifest in us.
The word Jesus uses for reward, means a payment for services. What we have to realize is that when we do good to our enemies, God takes on the debt Himself. He works out the repayment.
I don’t think there’s any possible reason why God should take on a debt that is owed to me by an enemy. And, for sure, I’m not going to demand it from God. But, knowing the Lord the way I do, I can expect an abundant blessing when I follow His leading.
God’s desire is that we take on a family resemblance to Him. He is kind, and the Lord wants us to walk in that same degree of kindness. Obviously, God’s definition of kindness means doing good to people who are ungrateful and evil. That takes a huge amount of grace.
Here’s the bottom line of all this.
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
If you study out the concept of mercy in Scripture, you’ll find that it’s nothing like the how we define it in our modern society. Let me just say that in this context, Jesus wants us to view people as to what they could be in Christ.
Ignore how they’re acting right now – even though they may be hurtful to you. See them through the eyes of God’s love.
Question: How have you shown love to an enemy recently?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi